Iraqi Shiite fighters in Tikrit pose in front of a former presidential palace that had been held by the so-called Islamic State, which had painted its black banner at the entrance. Iraqi government troops and militias have retaken most of the city from the Islamic State. But fighting is still taking place in parts of Tikrit.
Driving from Baghdad north to Tikrit, we speed up a main road Wednesday through small towns that have been won back from the self-declared Islamic State, or ISIS. Some still have smoking buildings.